Thursday, September 10, 2015

Jeremiah Burnight's Will

First page of Jeremiah Burnight's will.  Indiana, Marion County Circuit Court Will Record No. A, Circuit Court Clerk: 198, will of Jeremiah Burnight; digital images, "Indiana, Wills and Probate Records, 1798-1999", Ancestry ( : accessed 10 Sep 2015), search "Jeremiah Burnight."
Once again I have to give a shout out to Ancestry for their Wills and Probate release.

Jeremiah Burnight, my 5th great grandfather, was a miner in Lebanon, Pennsylvania in the first decade or so of the 19th century, after which he moved to Ohio and then Indiana, probably about the time when Indiana became a state (about 1818).  He bought first 166.6 acres of land in Dearborn County (the next county west of Cincinnati), and then bought almost 80 acres of land in 1824 in Marion County (the farming area southeast of Indianapolis).   I don't know what he did for money after leaving Pennsylvania, although it was likely just farming (his 1820 Census record indicates one person engaged in agriculture).

Second page of the will. I had originally put Jeremiah's death date as 1837, but looking at this now I think he wrote his last will and testament in October 1837, and then his witnesses appeared before the court to prove the will on 7 August 1839.  I'm assuming he likely died very early August 1839.

My transcription (pardon any errors):

Jeremiah Burnight Last Will and Testament,
I Jeremiah Burnight of Marion County in the State of Indiana, do make and publish this my last will and testament, hereby working and making void all former wills by me at any time heretofore made:
First, I direct that my body be ????? intered, and that my funeral be conducted in manner corresponding with my Estate & Situation in life.  And as to such worldly estate as it has pleased God, to interest one (me?) with: I disposed of the same in the following manner to wit: I direct first that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid as soon after my decease as possible, out of the first money that shall come to the hands of my Executor, from any portion of my estate real or personal.  I also direct that the whole of my estate real and personal, shall remain and be the absolute property of my beloved wife, Phebe Burnight during her widowhood: Except that I do hereby bequeath out of said estate for(?) dollars to each of my children, surviving my decease.
I also direct that at the expiration of my wife's widowhood that all the said estate shall be equally distributed share and share alike among each of my children, except the right of said wife's dowry. And at the decease of my said wife the remains of said dowry shall be distributed to said children as above named, I also further direct that incase(?) I shall leave any child or children living at the time of my decease that my said dear wife shall have the guardianship ???? of there dunny(?) their ????: And to effectuate my above named intentions I hereby ??? my beloved wife Phebe Burnight with full power and authority to execute the same to the best of her judgment.
In witness whereof I Jeremiah Burnight the testator have hereunto let my hand and seal this 27th day of Oct 1837.
Jeremiah Burnight (his mark)
Signed sealed published and declared by the above named Jeremiah Burnight as his last will and testament in the presence of us who have here unto subscribed our names as witnesses thereto in the presence of the testator and in the presence of each other,
Isaac Baylor and Elizabeth Baylor (her mark), witnesses
The State of Indiana
Marion County,
Be it known that in the thirteenth day of June in the year 1839 Isaac Baylor came personally before the Clerk of the Probate Court of the County aforesaid and that in the Seventh day of August in said year, Elizabeth Baylor came personally before said Clerk, who bring by said clerk severally duly sworn on the day at which they appeared as above upon their oaths respectively defered(?) and said, that the within(?) named Jeremiah Burnight signed sealed published and declared the within in--statement of writing to be his last will and testament that they believe he was at the time and on the duty(?) thereof of sound disposing mind and memory, that the signing sealing publishing and declaring thereof was done in their presence, that they subscribed their name thereto in the presence of and at the request of said testator, said Elizabeth by marking her mark to her written name, and in the presence of each other--
In testimony of which I Robert B. Duncan Clerk of said Court hereunto subscribe my name at Indianapolis the 7th day of August AD 1839.
Robert B. Duncan Clerk
Registered August 7, 1839

This was the first I'd ever heard of Isaac and Elizabeth Baylor.  I'll have to see what their relationship was to Jeremiah.

ETA: As I am learning about how to understand wills and probate records, it seems knowing the law under which those records were generated is always helpful.  I found on Google Books a relevant work, "The Revised Statutes of the State of Indiana, Adopted and Enacted by the General Assembly at Their Twenty-second Session: To which are Prefixed the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the U. S., the Constitution of the State of Indiana, and Sundry Other Documents Connected with the Political History of the Territory and State of Indiana : Arranged, Compiled, and Published by the Authority of the General Assembly," printed by Douglas & Noel in 1838 (667 pages).

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